There has been a lot of news lately in Utah, and in recent years in other states, about the definition of Marriage; a topic I’ve written about few times in the past. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I believe marriage is ordained of God, as well as having a brother and cousin who struggle with same sex attraction, giving me first-hand experience with the sensitivities that can accompany a discussion on this topic. My overall conclusion is that at the root of the issue is how this topic has become more political in nature then religious; which is also were the real debate should be.
A few weeks ago I was involved in a Sunday School discussion centered on “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” centered around the definition and purpose of marriage; which of course divulged into ideas around same sex attraction. Last week in church an official statement was read that clearly stated marriage is ordained of God to be between Man and Woman for the purpose of being…
“the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation.“
The statement goes on further to declare that changes in the law…
“indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established“
and forbids Church officers from performing marriages between two people of the same sex.
Despite all this, the “world” seems determined to change the very definition of Marriage that has been around long before any of the governments of today began pretending to have authority over the matter; which is where I believe the real issue lays. Politically speaking, In the U.S. at least, there are a number of reasons why the government should leave marriage “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people (see U.S. Constitution, Amendment X).” Which is also why, despite my agreement with the importance of defending the traditional definition of marriage and family, I tend to agree that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional; however, for very different reasons than most.
For me, marriage is deeply and significantly a religious tenant, ever since God commanded Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” Genesis 1:28 that is cheapened when governments try to secularize it by requiring a license and/or put other requirements and prerequisites around it that have nothing to do with this covenant that traditionally has been made between Man, Woman, and God.
It’s this change from a religious tenant, to a secular, licensed, and taxed legality that enables the view-point of inequality for couples bared from getting a marriage license. When in reality, it is an abuse of government power that has taken away a religious freedom that we only get back after we pay for a license (and as an added bonus we’ll also get a change in tax status along with other automatically recognized and legally implied contracts; which very state by state).
If marriage is truly a religious institution, wouldn’t government imposed “red-tape” violate the so called “separation of church and state” (a phrase that has only meant what it does today for about 65 years)? More importantly, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” Again, saying it should be left to the States and to the People to determine; not the Federal Courts.
With this in mind, shouldn’t the debate over any kind of marriage be more of a religious one rather than a secular or legal one? Regardless of how it all turns out in this life, one thing is for sure, it will only turn out well beyond this life for those who are properly married through God’s authority.